Matt Miller's Way Early 2020 Top 5 NFL Mock Draft

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterJuly 11, 2019

Who is the favorite to go No. 1 in the 2020 draft?
Who is the favorite to go No. 1 in the 2020 draft?Thomas Boyd/Associated Press

Every football fan wants to know two things—which NFL team will have the No. 1 overall selection in the 2020 draft and which player it will select.

We can't know either one this early, but thanks to Super Bowl betting odds from Caesars (current as of Wednesday, July 10) and a preseason list of draft rankings and team needs, we can at least peek and predict which teams will be selecting early and which players they could be looking at.

Let's jump in.


1. Arizona Cardinals: Chase YoungEDGE, Ohio State

Many in the scouting community thought the Arizona Cardinals were a lock to select Ohio State pass-rusher Joey Bosa with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft. They instead went all-in on quarterback Kyler Murray to fit the system of new head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

With the projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft, the Cardinals can select a different Ohio State rusher to pair up with the super-talented Chandler Jones.

Young, a true junior for the Buckeyes, was supposed to work his way into the spotlight in 2018 after the team lost starting pass-rushers Tyquan Lewis, Sam Hubbard and Jalyn Holmes to the 2018 draft. Nick Bosa was returning, but he entered the season as a first-year full-time starter. Young was thrust into a major role after Bosa suffered a core muscle injury, and his performance put him on the scouting map.

COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 17: Chase Young #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks on prior to the game against the Maryland Terrapins at Capital One Field on November 17, 2018 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Will Newton/Getty Images
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With 9.5 sacks coming off the edge, Young showed he can produce against talented Big Ten offensive tackles even when he's the focus of the offensive line's game plan. His athleticism and first-step quickness might be better than the guy he replaced; as Young's 6'5", 265-pound frame shows bend and both upper- and lower-body strength needed to stack up against blockers in the run game.

Barring injury, Young has a chance to be the top overall player on many media and team draft boards next spring. 


2. Cincinnati Bengals: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

The Cincinnati Bengals could part ways with a solid quarterback to go all-in on the potential of one in the 2020 draft.

Veteran Andy Dalton has led the Bengals to the playoffs multiple times, but he's never won a playoff game. With new head coach Zac Taylor in town and Dalton's contract set to expire after the 2020 season, the Bengals must spend serious time investigating all possible quarterback options.

John Bazemore/Associated Press

Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa shouldn't be remembered for how his 2018 season ended as he limped his way through the College Football Playoff National Championship against Clemson. Go back and watch Tua against Oklahoma before his injury affected his throwing motion—he was 24-of-27 for 318 yards and four touchdowns against the Sooners. That performance matched what he'd shown in-season against Auburn, Texas A&M and others, as he carved up defenses with high-efficiency passing and ridiculous touch.

As far as comparisons go, Tua is most often called a young Russell Wilson with his 6'0", 230-pound frame. I see the touch and field vision of a young Drew Brees. His ability to float passes in over the heads of defenders and drop the ball perfectly into the hands of receivers is uncanny.

If the Bengals want to start over at quarterback, it will be hard to overlook Tua's accuracy, toughness and athleticism.


3. Miami Dolphins: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Don't read too much into this as far as recently added quarterback Josh Rosen goes.

If Rosen plays well, the Dolphins shouldn't be selecting No. 3 overall. Them being so low here means Vegas oddsmakers don't expect a good season from Miami or the second-year quarterback.

If Rosen struggles and the Dolphins are selecting third, they'll be looking at a strong crop of available passers with this pick.

Herbert enters the 2019 college football season as the most likely passer to be drafted No. 1 overall, according to pro scouts and coaches I've spoken to. He has prototypical size (6'6", 235 lbs) and a right arm with excellent power, clean mechanics and the athleticism to play inside or outside of the pocket.

An area scout who traveled to Eugene, Oregon, last fall to watch Ducks practices said Herbert was "beautiful, flawless" throwing the football, and it's easy to see that on tape. He does need to perform better under pressure—something that could be tough to evaluate as he's behind arguably the nation's best offensive line—and show more toughness, but Herbert has the tools scouts tend to fall in love with.

Herbert enters his second season under head coach Mario Cristobal after Willie Taggart left for FSU, which should make Herbert more comfortable and give him a chance to thrive. The aforementioned offensive line plus the return of almost all key offensive players puts Herbert in a prime situation to put up the eye-popping numbers and development needed to secure one of the top overall spots in the draft.


4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa

From being a backup in 2018—albeit with 16.5 tackles for a loss and 10.5 sacks—A.J. Epenesa will become a household name in 2019 as he moves into a starting role. And that's important to note after Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz had the underclassman Epenesa in a backup, rotating role last year behind a redshirt senior. Seniority matters at Iowa, so this isn't an indictment on his talent, but his class.

Holly Hart/Associated Press

The Buccaneers have added key players to the defense with Devin White and Ndamukong Suh, but the edge is still questionable. Epenesa fits in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme, as he has great power at 6'5" and 277 pounds, the length to lock out tackles and the quickness get around the edge. With Todd Bowles' scheme a base 3-4 but transitioning to a four-man front on passing downs, Epenesa's versatility is a major sell.

As is the case with most Iowa prospects, Epenesa's bust factor is low. Scouts who have been through Iowa City send back word of incredibly high football character (work ethic, how teammates view him, maturity, coachability). With a character report that matches excellent on-field play, Epenesa has a chance to shoot up draft boards and land as a consensus top-five player and pick.


5. Washington Redskins: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

The top-ranked player in the 2020 draft class is a special wide receiver from Alabama with Odell Beckham Jr.-like ability and athleticism. As Washington rebuilds around quarterback Dwayne Haskins and running back Derrius Guice, a star wide receiver to work in tandem with Josh Doctson, Terry McLaurin and Paul Richardson could put the unit over the top.

Jeudy is truly special. The 6'1", 192-pound junior has excellent speed, agility and balance and the ability to adjust to the ball in the air. He won't be posting shirtless selfies that scare children like D.K. Metcalf, but he offers the burst, flexibility and smoothness that wide receiver coaches and scouts crave.

Most importantly, Jeudy is a dynamic and smooth route-runner with nearly flawless hands. You don't get the lazy, rounded routes or concentration drops from him that many college receivers show on tape. Instead, he's sharp, concise and smart as a route-runner and receiver.

The biggest need for Washington likely won't be wide receiver, but the front office needs a superstar offensive threat. Jeudy can be that from day one.


Matt Miller covers the NFL and NFL draft for Bleacher Report.